Pharmaceuticals company Pfizer saw its earnings increase fivefold in the third quarter of this year, largely as a result of the success of its Covid-19 vaccine.
Pfizer was founded in 1849 by two German immigrants, and has its headquarters in New York City. Yet its main European seat is in Puurs in Antwerp province, which has been the hub of European activities since the outbreak of Covid-19.
That vaccine has now pushed Pfizer’s net profit for the third quarter up to $8.15 billion (around €7 billion) as a result of the roll-out of the mass vaccination programme underway across the continent. That is five times more than the same period in 2020, when profits were €1.27 billion.
At the same time as profits multiplied fivefold, earnings only rose by 134% to €21 billion. The coronavirus, clearly, is good for some types of business if not others.
Pfizer turned over €11.2 billion on the vaccine alone, with 23 billion doses going out the door in the whole year. And with the arrival of a campaign of booster jabs for certain sectors of the population, that figure can only be expected to increase.
However, profiting from a worldwide pandemic was not the only money-maker for Pfizer. Even setting the corona figures aside, the company saw its earnings increase over the whole year.
One explanation for this could be the media attention the company has received. Generally the technical nature of pharmaceutical products makes brand recognition harder to achieve and less relevant, given that not all the public will need the same medicine, unlike other consumer products that could be used by anyone. However, the vaccine can only have cemented the company’s name in the minds of the public and has heightened its prominence in the medical domain.